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Sean Stewart Zine Collection

Identifier: MsC0353

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Scope and Contents

The zines in the Stewart Collection constitute a wide variety of subjects and concerns, Many are perzines, that is,"personal" zines that describe the author's own experiences, thoughts and feelings. Others consist of comic or other types of art, and still other zines are designed as outlets for political or social expression. Many zines encompass more than one type or style, reflecting the fluidity of the zine as a product of creative endeavor.

Also included are issues of several publications dedicated to the review of other zines, including Zine World and Best Zine Ever.


  • Creation: 1986-2009


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Zines (originally called fanzines) are amateur, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) publications produced non-commercially, designed to circulate among a small number of people sharing similar cultural or social interests. Generally speaking, zines are produced by a single individual - in a cut-and-paste fashion and photocopied - and distributed informally by hand or at concerts, zine fests, bookstores, music stores and other locations, or sent through the mail at low cost..

Zines are important methods of communication among members of distinct subcultures or social communities traditionally underrepresented by the societal mainstream. In the modern era, zines became popular during the emergence of science fiction fandom starting in the 1930s. SF fans created zines, which evolved out of the letter columns from SF literary magazines such as Astounding Stories, in order to communicate with each other and provide forums in which fans could express their own personal opinions about the genre and its media products. Zines fairly quickly became a distinct feature of SF fandom and remain so to this day.

Zines were taken up by other distinct cultural movements, including beat literature in the 1950s, underground comics in the 1960, punk music in the 1970s, and the feminist riot grrl movement in the 1990s. As methods of cheap photocopying and, later, the personal computer, became more widely available in the 1980s and 1990s the number and variations of zines exploded. With the advent of the Internet and the introduction of blogging as a tool of personal and creative expression, the number of print zines began declining, although the zine remains popular among particular subcultures as a tool of personal and creative expression and as a way of exchanging thoughts, ideas and opinions.

Sean Stewart is a Baltimore, MD-based librarian and zine writer/editor. In 1996 he began publishing his perzine Thoughtworm (which continues today), and also started collecting and trading zines at that time. In addition to writing and collecting, he is also active as a zine reviewer. He has written reviews for Zine World, Best Zine Ever, and Zine Guide. He served as the monthly review columnist for the NewPages Zine Rack on (which is still accessible) from 2002-2007. Currently he reviews zines and books for Razorcake Magazine.


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection of zines dealing with a wide variety of subjects, themes, and creative styles, collected by a Baltimore-based zine writer, editor and reviewer.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were donated by Sean Stewart, of Baltimore, MD, in December 2009. Materials were donated from 1996 through 2009.

Related Materials

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BERGUS, NICK AND LAURA. Bergus Zine Collection, 1978-2002. 13.5 ft.

Zines collected by Nick and Laura Bergus documenting avant garde and popular music in the 1980s and 1990s. MsC834.

JOHNSON, BRENT. The Brent Johnson Iowa Killed Buddy Holly Small Press and Zine Shop Collection, 1990-2005. 5.5 ft.

Collection of zines and other small press publications assembled by Johnson, an Iowa City native who operated the Iowa Killed Buddy Holly Small Press and Zine Shop in Iowa City. MsC 319.

PUBLIC SPACE ONE. Public Space ONE Zine Collection, 1977-2008. 2.2. ft.

Collection of zines donated by Iowa City-based art and performance venue Public Space ONE. Many zines relate to anarchist or radical politics, and many zines are from Iowa City-area authors. MsC370.

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS. Special Collections Floating Zine Collection, 1998-2010. 1.0 ft

Collection of assorted zines not tied to any particular donor or other collection. MsC331.

WOLFE, SARAH AND JEN. Sarah and Jen Wolfe Collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines, 1991-1998, 2003. 6 ft.

Collection of amateur publications arising primarily from the feminist riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, together with numerous zines documenting various independent/underground music scenes. MsC 878.

ZINE MACHINE. Zine Machine Collection, 2001-2009. 0.8 ft.

Collection of zines taken from the Zine Machine, a repurposed vending machine in the University of Iowa Main Library that distributes zines to interested parties. Many of the zines are local to Iowa City in origin. MsC885.

For other fannish collections, type “classification_uris: Fandom-Related Collections” in the search term bar.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in December 2009.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)